Sharing the Good News
Dear Friends in Christ:
What does it mean to follow Jesus?
There are three important ingredients that we all need in order to follow Jesus in our daily lives.
- Prayer and the sacraments
- Doing good (not just avoiding the bad) and
- Sharing the Good News!
Do you pray? Do you pray with your spouse and with your family? How often do you pray? Is your prayer heartfelt or halfhearted? Is your prayer sincere and intentional or superficial and rote? Do you pray just to “get stuff” from God or do you pray to give glory and praise to God? Prayer is the oxygen to the soul. To keep a relationship with God alive we must pray. Prayer is more than reading or reciting, prayer is the lifting up of our hearts and minds to God. Prayer is heart speaking to heart (cor ad cor loquitor). Use the scriptures, the rosary, use formal prayers to allow your heart to be open to God. Prayer is telling God that you love Him (Adoration), that you are sorry for your sins (Contrition), that you are thankful for all of his blessings (Thanksgiving) and asking him for his help (Supplication). The sacraments are not just Mass on Sundays. That is just one single essential ingredient. Remember too that there is confession, but there are those sacraments in which we live – baptism, confirmation, marriage. Living our baptism and confirmation each day, consciously living our marriage as a sacrament of God’s grace.
Not doing evil is both a challenge and a low bar! Fortunately, not committing murder or robbing a bank is something most of us are able to do. But not doing evil does not make us saints or even good. It simply makes us not evil. To follow Jesus, we must do the good, the right, and the holy! To be a saint is to love God above all else and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We must do good and be the good for others and ourselves! What good have you done for others lately? What have you done to be better and to improve the life of someone else and our parish and our community? What have you done to take care of yourselves – your body, your mind, your soul? What do you normally do to enrich yourself as a human being? What do you do regularly to become a better spouse, parent, worker, sibling, citizen, child, friend, Catholic?
The news media and journalists learn quickly that good news does not sell. The result is that we are constantly bombarded with bad news. To look at the headlines on TV, newspapers and the internet, one could easily be convinced that everything and everybody everywhere is bad, corrupt and terrible! The constant drumbeat of murder, rape, theft, embezzlement, injustice, lying, cheating, hatred, prejudice and on and on and on is not only depressing, disheartening and discouraging, it is also a distortion of reality. While there is bad and evil in the world and in every single person on the planet, there is also good! In fact, there is more good than evil, there is more right than wrong, there is hope and promise. What we too often forget and are too slow to remember as we drown in a sea of negativity is that Jesus has saved us!
The ultimate Good News is that “God so loved the world that he gave us his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have eternal life!” Jn 3.16
Too many of us, because of all of the bad news, forget to share the Good News! The bad news does not negate the Good News of Jesus, but it does mean that we have to shout it louder in order for people to hear. It means that we have to double our efforts to share the Good News by word, example and invitation. To share the Good News of Jesus means that we can’t hide our faith, hope and joy under a bushel basket or in the privacy of our own homes. People need to hear, see and experience the Good News of Jesus. They are starving, thirsting and dying because they do not know Jesus. But God has a plan to bring the Good News of His love for each and every person on this planet. His plan is you and me. We can’t wait until everything is perfect for us to share the Good News. Each of us need to share the Good News of Jesus Christ today. Who do we share the Good News with? Everybody! We can start with those closest to us, our spouse, our kids, our parents, our siblings, neighbors, co-workers and friends. Then we move to our neighbors, acquaintances and others. We do not have to lecture or debate anybody about the truths of Catholicism or the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but we should not be shy in letting everyone know how blessed we are to know, love and serve God and live our faith as Catholics. People need our witness and conviction in a world filled with doubt and suspicion. They need to see our joy in a world filled with sadness and numbness. They need to hear the Good News in a world filled with so much bad news! Following Jesus is not checking boxes, it is living live abundantly!
Pray, Do Good and Share the Good News!
In Pace Christi,
Fr. Troy Gately